Resident Enjoys Benefits of Small Space Living at Judson Park

For more than 30 years Joan Nicholl enjoyed living in Cleveland’s historic Little Italy neighborhood. Even after her family moved away from Greater Cleveland, Joan continued living there on her own. But when she reached her early 80s, her doctor urged her to proactively prepare for the future.

A Life in Transition

Being from the area and having frequented the pool at Judson Park for water aerobics classes, Joan was already well-acquainted with the location. As she researched her senior living options, she determined that the medical resources at the Park far surpassed those of the other communities on her list. She was also impressed by the diversity of activities offered in the daily schedule. “I was not afraid of being bored,” she declared, smiling.

Joan also had a close friend who lived at the Park, and when she toured the one-bedroom apartment directly across the hall from her friend’s residence, she knew immediately that Judson Park was the place for her. She especially appreciated the garden patio and kitchen spaces.

Now, Joan reads and relaxes on her patio—a calm, private oasis of greenery—and relishes the ease of gardening just a few steps away from her living room. Even her dog, Enzo, enjoys sprawling out next to the flower boxes and plant hangers.
Although Joan scaled down for the move by getting rid of now-extraneous items (including a lawn mower and snow shovel), she has all that she needs in her apartment, which she has creatively organized for comfort.
Proving that hospitality defies the supposed confines of smaller spaces, she transforms her desk into a dining table that sits six individuals. Additional seating comes in the form of benches that she also uses as temporary shelving.

Many of Joan’s own woodprints and etchings adorn the walls of her apartment. When Case Western University’s Adelbert Hall burned down in 1991, Joan acquired some of the building’s discarded wood. She used that material to delve into woodprinting. Since moving to Judson Park, Joan has expanded her collection by producing collages from preserved newspaper clippings. Her numerous works impart a distinct personalized character to the apartment.
And even though she lives in a one-bedroom apartment, Joan rarely eats alone. She will frequently join fellow residents for a meal in the dining room, or, once a month, have dinner with her neighbors on her floor. Joan’s had no trouble meeting new and interesting people. “A variety of people live here and it’s impossible to not find commonality with other residents,” she says.
She continues to visit her old neighborhood in Little Italy. Whether it’s to walk the dog, enjoy a meal at a nearby restaurant, or shop, Joan will find any excuse to visit her old haunts. “Living at Judson Park, I continue to go to all the places I’ve always gone to because I’m essentially in the same neighborhood!”

Her independent lifestyle continues in a new context, which provides the support that she needs as she looks forward to what life has in store.

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